Chabana: Flowers for Tea

Version 2

As December comes to a close and winter deepens here in the northern hemisphere, we’re continuing our turn inward as we conclude our two-part series on the spirit of tea as reflected in chado, the Japanese way of tea. Today we’re focusing on chabana, the art of flowers so integral to Japanese tea ceremony. 

To chat with us about chabana we’re welcoming back Drew Hanson, an instructor in the Urasenke school of chado and founder/owner of the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House in New Jersey. (You may remember Drew from an earlier chado-related Talking Tea episode, Tea, Heart to Heart.) We’re with Drew in the tea room at Boukakuan, and Drew talks with us about the guiding principles of chabana and how the flowers in the tea room relate to us as humans, mirroring our own constant state of transition and transience. Drew gives us specific guidance on how to choose and present flowers for tea, and we discuss the history of chabana and its relationship to Buddhism in Japan. We chat about bringing nature into the tea room in a very focused way, relating the flowers and their container to the season and the differences between chabana and Western traditions of flower arranging so vividly pointed out in Kakuzo Okakura’s The Book of Tea.

For more info on the Boukakuan Japanese Tea House, including info on Japanese tea ceremony classes and demonstrations, go to the Boukakuan website at njgreentea.com.

Ken Cohen’s audiobook edition of Kakuzo Okakura’s The Book of Tea, published by Spoken Realms, is available at Audible.com , Amazon and iTunes.

Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   

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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.

This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii/japanese-flowers) by mpgiiiBEATS (https://soundcloud.com/mpgiii) available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Adapted from original.

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